Walking stabilizes cognitive functioning in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) across on year

Institute for Memory Impairments & Neurological Disorders, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, United States
Archives of gerontology and geriatrics (Impact Factor: 1.85). 09/2012; 56(1). DOI: 10.1016/j.archger.2012.06.016
Source: PubMed


AD is a public health epidemic, which seriously impacts cognition, mood and daily activities; however, one type of activity, exercise, has been shown to alter these states. Accordingly, we sought to investigate the relationship between exercise and mood, in early-stage AD patients (N=104) from California, over a 1-year period. Patients completed the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and Blessed-Roth Dementia Rating Scale (BRDRS), while their caregivers completed the Yale Physical Activity Survey (YALE), Profile of Mood States (POMS), the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) and Functional Abilities Questionnaire (FAQ). Approximately half of the participants were female, from a variety of ethnic groups (Caucasian=69.8%; Latino/Hispanic Americans=20.1%). Our results demonstrated that the patients spent little time engaged in physical activity in general, their overall activity levels decreased over time, and this was paired with a change in global cognition (e.g., MMSE total score) and affect/mood (e.g., POMS score). Patients were parsed into Active and Sedentary groups based on their Yale profiles, with Active participants engaged in walking activities, weekly, over 1 year. Here, Sedentary patients had a significant decline in MMSE scores, while the Active patients had an attenuation in global cognitive decline. Importantly, among the Active AD patients, those individuals who engaged in walking for more than 2h/week had a significant improvement in MMSE scores. Structured clinical trials which seek to increase the amount of time AD patients were engaged in walking activities and evaluate the nature and scope of beneficial effects in the brain are warranted.

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    • "Exercise is known to raise free radical content and can precondition against ischemia (Frasier et al. 2011; Powers et al. 2011; Zhang et al. 2011). Many studies have supported the long-term benefits of exercise in humans, even in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients (Chen et al. 2005; Xu et al. 2010; Erickson et al. 2012; Mayeux and Stern 2012; Fisher et al. 2013; Intlekofer and Cotman 2013; Winchester et al. 2013). Animal studies have also shown convincingly that exercise is protective in experimental models of neurodegeneration (for some examples, see Adlard et al. 2005; Nichol et al. 2009; Pothakos et al. 2009; Zigmond et al. 2009; Gerecke et al. 2010; Vuckovic et al. 2010; Intlekofer and Cotman 2013; Souza et al. 2013). "
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    • "Improving blood flow by exercise, healthy eating, or using dietary supplements may also be effective for preventing AD. Substantial evidence demonstrates an association between physical activity and improvement of cognitive decline in AD [93–95]. "
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